Grief and Gratitude

I am tired of writing about grief because I am tired of grieving. I have been here before, teetering at a crossroads. I have learned some things over the years, like the importance of letting myself feel whatever it is I am feeling. I have learned the difference between honoring my feelings and wallowing inside of them. I have learned (though I don’t claim to be perfect at it) to notice when it is time to make a conscious shift in perspective—when doing so doesn’t mean pushing away feelings that need to be felt, but rather, slowly shedding what is ready to fall away.

More than one person has reflected my experience back to me, describing my emotional state like that of a wounded animal. I have been battered, shell-shocked, shaking with fear, and hence too timid—and far too exhausted—to leave my den. But I have begun to sniff the outdoors; to circle the perimeter before crawling back inside.

I still carry my grief with me: somedays, like today, I carry it on my chest like a ten-ton weight; but yesterday I carried it in my back pocket and laughed like I haven’t laughed in weeks.

I know healing, like life, is not a straight trajectory. I know not to get too attached when the days feel easier, just like I know not to give up when the days feel unbearable. I carry a strength that I have built, one challenge at a time, brick by brick by brick, and it will get me through anything.

I carry fear and rage, but I also carry joy. These days, it mostly lives in my back pocket like yesterday’s grief, but I know it’s there. I can feel it like a seed, precious, with an entire garden living inside its shell.

heart seed

I want to water it with gratitude and watch it bloom:

I am grateful to be running again, slow and heavy, but running nonetheless.

I am grateful for all the women who, because they have been through what I have been through—are going through what I am going through—understand even when I don’t have the energy to explain.

I am grateful for this week’s sun, hot and bright and luring me out of my skin.

I am grateful for the people who have never waned in their presence and support; and for the people who have shown up unexpectedly with their presence and support.

I am grateful for my family’s tree-planting ceremony; and for our new tree (a
sweetly-sad looking specimen that will blossom into a beautiful weeping cherry); and for our meditating frog that makes me smile every time I look at him. (I’m not sure why I think it’s a him, since I usually go with “her,” but I do.)

I am grateful that my children love each other the way that I always wanted a sibling to love.

I am grateful for my home, which wraps its walls around me like a cocoon.

I am grateful for Josh, my love, for loving me still. For loving me more than ever.


8 thoughts on “Grief and Gratitude

  1. Wonderful gratitude. We are grateful to you too for inviting us in your life and allowing us to walk this journey with you. May God continue to bless you and keep you safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my darling girl, of COURSE Joshee loves you even more! You grow more loveable every day. And your beautiful husband shines brighter and brighter. The two of you together are brilliant.

    I’m so glad that Froggy is delivering his medicine. What is it about that little guy? There he sits in his contained serenity inciting our giggles and joy. What a welcome exemplar for the family.

    And you, dear one, you grow deeper and more trustworthy with every moment you are meeting: honestly, eloquently and with stellar integrity. I bow to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jenny
    how beautiful and loveable, you and Josh, look on the photo.
    And I am impressed by the warmth and light that shines out of you.
    I am glad for you october is over and november is tender with you.
    You seem more peaceful, even if happiness is not here once and for ever.
    But it’s rather like the sea which comes and goes with the waves, but still, it’s always the same water we deal with.
    Take good care of yourself, hugs Mariejeanne.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, everyone, for your comments, your encouragement, your presence in my life. I was knocked to me knees by my most recent surgery last month, and as I slowly re-emerge, it means the world to feel supported, held, understood.


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